The "Pulpy-Leaved Thorn"
Mentioned In The Journal Is The Greasewood ; And Both
Of These Shrubs Flourish In The Poverty-Stricken, Sandy,
Alkaline Soil Of The Far West And Northwest.
The woody fibre
of these furnished the only fuel available for early overland
emigrants to the Pacific.
The character of this country now changed considerably as the explorers
turned to the northward, in their crooked course, with the river.
On the twenty-fifth of May the journal records this: -
"The country on each side is high, broken, and rocky; the rock
being either a soft brown sandstone, covered with a thin stratum
of limestone, or else a hard, black, rugged granite, both usually
in horizontal strata, and the sand-rock overlaying the other.
Salts and quartz, as well as some coal and pumice-stone, still appear.
The bars of the river are composed principally of gravel;
the river low grounds are narrow, and afford scarcely any timber;
nor is there much pine on the hills. The buffalo have now become scarce;
we saw a polecat [skunk] this evening, which was the first for
several days; in the course of the day we also saw several herds
of the bighorned animals among the steep cliffs on the north,
and killed several of them."
The bighorned animals, the first of which were killed here,
were sometimes called "Rocky Mountain sheep." But sheep
they were not, bearing hair and not wool. As we have said,
they are now more commonly known as bighorns.
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